Page last updated at 07:27 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 08:27 UK

Family in tribute to stab victim

Nilanthan Murddi
Nilanthan Murddi died from a single stab wound

The family of a 17-year-old youth stabbed to death in a street fight in south London have paid tribute to the "energetic and helpful" teenager.

Nilanthan Murddi's sister Santhiya said her parents were "destroyed" by their only son's death.

"He was always giving a helping hand," she said. "Every day, every second, we will be thinking of him."

A 31-year-old man arrested in connection with Nilanthan's murder has since been released on bail.

Nilanthan was among six to eight people involved in the fight in Croydon early on Saturday.

Taxi argument

The teenager died three hours later in hospital. A post-mortem examination found he died from a single knife wound to the neck.

Dozens of family members have visited Nilanthan's Croydon home and the scene of the crime in Sumner Road.

The Murddi family are from Sri Lanka but have lived in Britain for more than 20 years.

His aunt Usha Muralitharan, 48, said: "He was a helpful boy. He was very family-orientated."

He was energetic, always giving a helping hand whenever it was needed
Santhiya Murddi

Others said he enjoyed playing football and cricket, and described him as the "joker of the family".

His sister Santhiya, 18, said her parents were too upset to speak. His mother Kalaimagal flew back from a trip to India on hearing the news.

Both Santhiya and Nilanthan worked at the family business - the Royal Masala restaurant in Purley.

"Words can't express how I feel right now," she said. "He was energetic, always giving a helping hand whenever it was needed."

Police want to contact a mini-cab driver, believed to have been in a blue Ford Mondeo, who stopped at traffic lights near the scene of the fight at about 0100 BST on Saturday.

Police believe his passenger, a white man, argued with him and "exchanged words" with Nilanthan and his friends who were standing nearby.

A Met Police spokeswoman said: "The suspect returned a little while later and was again involved in an exchange of words with Nilanthan and his friends, which resulted in the victim being injured."

Nilanthan was the 23rd teenager to be killed in a stabbing or a shooting in the capital this year.




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